Back in November 2001, Microsoft forever altered the gaming landscape by entering the console race with the original Xbox – a venture that saw over 1 million Xbox consoles flying off the shelves within just three weeks. However, when the tech giant first considered creating its own console, they first met with rival Nintendo to discuss a potential console partnership – a proposal that the Japanese gaming giant reportedly turned down, Xbox co-creator Ed Fries revealed.
"When we first started thinking about doing Xbox, we met with Nintendo," Fries said in an interview with IGN. "We sat down with [late Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata] and others and we said, 'This is what we want to do, could we partner? Could we work together on this?' And basically they said no."
"We could do the software and the networking stuff, you guys could do the hardware, and we could team up and put out a product together,' Fries continued. "They said no."
Following Nintendo's rejection, Fries said Bill Gates, who was Microsoft's CEO at the time, approached Sony to discuss a similar deal as well.
"Can we work together? Can we partner?" Fries said Gates asked the team. "And they said no."
Fries' comments came in response to a question inquiring whether the rumours that Microsoft was looking to buy Nintendo were true. However, Fries said he did not know about it, if there was ever any internal discussion about a potential deal.
"Actually, if anyone [at Microsoft] thought about buying Nintendo, I never heard that," he said.
Last year, Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley said that there were a number of ideas pushed around during the planning stages of the first Xbox including focusing it on playing movies, only allowing making games made by Microsoft playable on the console and buying Nintendo out altogether.
"Just name it, name a bad idea and it was something we had to deal with," Blackley told Gamesindustry at the time.
After months of speculation, rumours and tid-bits, the gaming industry is now witnessing the strange scenario where all three rivals are looking to launch new hardware - the PlayStation Neo, Xbox Scorpio and Nintendo NX - within the next year and a half as either new units or mid-generational leaps. While each company will have their own individual set of challenges and technical obstacles to overcome, it will certainly be interesting to see how the latest battle in the console war plays out.